Brad Paisley Helps Send Woman Behind Cancer Hoax to Jail
Brad Paisley and his wife, actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley, were two of numerous celebrities who were victims of an elaborate scam by Hope Jackson, a woman who claimed her daughter, “Claire,” was dying of neuroblastoma, a fatal form of cancer.
Jackson said her daughter’s dying wish was to speak to the actress before she passed away. The ‘Nashville‘ star jumped to action, spending the next 10 days in constant communication with the woman, before she began to fear she and her husband were victims of a terrible hoax.
“I watched my wife buckle when she realized this wasn’t a real girl,” Paisley recalls to Nightline. “It’s sort of like emotional terrorism.”
The woman, who also tricked the members of Little Big Town, gospel singer Natalie Grant, reality star Kate Gosselin and others, was found in a Wyoming motel and confessed to the ruse. Since she never asked for money, criminal charges would have been unlikely, except for the fact that Paisley once sang ‘Amazing Grace’ over the phone to who he thought was a sick little girl.
Since Paisley makes a living as a singer, it was determined that the performance had enough value to charge her with a felony for theft of services. She is currently on parole after serving time behind bars.
The singer, who became even more irate when he realized Jackson had lifted photos of real children who were suffering from the deadly disease as part of her scheme, fulfilled a promise he made to his wife.
“I vowed then I was going to find her,” he says of learning about the scam. “I’m going to find her, and I’m going to make sure this person isn’t able to do this, or isn’t capable of doing worse.”